West Indies opener Chris Gayle hitting out during his 123. (Picture courtesy ICC)
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Man Of The Match Shimron Hetmyer and veteran opener Chris Gayle both struck imperious hundreds as West Indies overwhelmed United Arab Emirates (UAE) by 60 runs to make a winning start to their World Cup qualification campaign Tuesday.
Choosing to bat first in the Group “A” contest at Old Hararians, the Caribbean side motored to a massive 357 for four off their 50 overs, with Hetmyer blasting 127 and fellow left-hander Gayle carving out 123.
Hetmyer faced 93 balls and belted 14 fours and four sixes to mark his maiden One-Day International hundred while Gayle lashed seven fours and 11 massive sixes in a 91-ball innings which delivered his 23rd one-day century.
Stroke-maker Shai Hope gathered 35 before retiring hurt with a knock to knee in the final over while left-hander opener Evin Lewis struck 31.
In reply, Rameez Shahzad stroked an impressive unbeaten 112 as UAE rallied to 297 for six off their allotted overs, in an effort that gained the minnows plaudits.
Shaiman Anwar weighed in with 64, Adnan Mufti got 45 while Chirag Suri hit 38, as UAE did well to bat out their 50 overs despite the defeat.
Captain Jason Holder was the best Windies bowler, picking up five for 53 with his medium pace.
The result was never really in doubt once the Windies notched their fourth highest total in ODIs, as Gayle and Hetmyer dominated the inexperienced UAE attack.
Gayle posted 88 for the first wicket with Lewis, who faced 49 balls and struck three fours before falling lbw to left-arm spinner Ahmed Raza in the 17th over.
His dismissal brought Gayle and Hetmyer together, and they added a further 103 for the second wicket to keep the Windies in cruise control.
The 38-year-old Gayle provided the early momentum, punching five fours and three sixes to ease to his half-century off 47 deliveries, before racing to three figures off a mere 32 more balls.
He brought up his landmark in the 25th over with a single down the ground off seamer Mohammed Naveed, to become only the third batsman to score ODI hundreds against 11 different countries.
South African Hashim Amla and Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar are the other two batsmen to have achieved the feat.
Gayle then celebrated with successive sixes off the first three balls of the next over from captain and off-spinner Rohan Mustafa before eventually holing out to deep mid-wicket in the 29th over off leg-spinner Imran Haider.
The 21-year-old Hetmyer quickly took charge of the innings, accelerating the scoring to reach his hundred off 78 balls in the 44th over. He added 77 for the third wicket with Marlon Samuels (15) and a further 65 for the fourth wicket with Hope before falling to a catch at the wicket off seamer Amir Hayat in the 48th over.
In reply, UAE found themselves in early trouble when they lost their top three to slump to 69 for three in the 17th over.
Seamer Kemar Roach had Mustafa caught at the wicket by Hetmyer for eight in the fourth over with the score on 19 and Holder struck twice, first claiming Ghulam Shabber caught and bowled for six in the 13th over and then sending back Chirag Suri caught behind.
To UAE’s credit, however, there was no collapse as Shahzad and Anwar put on 144 to keep West Indies on their toes. The 30-year-old Shahzad counted nine fours and four sixes in a knock requiring 107 balls to post his second ODI century while Anwar faced 62 balls and slammed five fours and three sixes.
Holder struck twice in the 39th over, removing Anwar and Mohammad Usman (1) and even though Shahzad and Mufti put on a lively 80 off 60 deliveries for the sixth wicket, the target proved beyond UAE’s reach.
West Indies face Papua New Guinea in their second match Wednesday at the same venue. (CMC)